What is a beacon protocol? Can beacons broadcast multiple packets simultaneously?

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Just as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standards of radio communication, beacon protocols are standards of BLE communication. Each protocol describes the structure of a data packet beacons broadcast.

Currently, Estimote supports twelve protocols:

  • Estimote Monitoring
  • Estimote Connection
  • Estimote Location
  • Estimote Telemetry
  • Nearable
  • iBeacon
  • Eddystone UID
  • Eddystone EID
  • Eddystone URL
  • Eddystone TLM
  • Generic Advertiser
  • Here & Now

Estimote Monitoring is the default protocol in both Location and Proximity Beacons and it was built as a mix of Estimote Location and iBeacon, taking the best features of both protocols. It offers various improvements in accuracy and beacon detection and is currently the most reliable protocol broadcasted by our beacons. Learn how to enable it here.

Estimote Connection allows you to connect to a beacon and change its settings. You cannot turn it off.

Estimote Location is brand new packet, design specifically to work with our Indoor Location SDK.

Estimote Telemetry is a packet that broadcasts information from sensors, GPIO, battery state, and firmware version.

Keep in mind that the Location packet is only supported by Estimote Location Beacons.

Nearable is our own protocol we use in Estimote Stickers to include more sensor data in a single packet. You can read about it elsewhere in our Knowledge Base.

Eddystone and iBeacon were developed by Google and Apple respectively. All Estimote Beacons can broadcast these. To learn about the differences between them, visit Estimote Developer PortalEstimote Connection, Estimote Location, Estimote Telemetry are protocols that were introduced with Estimote Location Beacons.

Generic Advertiser is the name we use for packets that you can configure. In practical terms, you can use this protocol to broadcast data with any structure you like, and they key your app to react to that data however you want. It gives you a bit more flexibility than the default packets, but on the other hand — it does require more tweaking from you, as well.

Here & Now is another proprietary Estimote protocol. It allows you to use the Physical Web to broadcast short messages to devices with the Physical Web protocol enabled. You're able to specify a link, its title, and its description, and track the clicks, impressions and foot traffic around the beacon. Read more about it here.

Send multiple packets

Estimote Connection packet is enabled by default on all Estimote Beacons. Estimote Location Beacons can broadcast multiple beacon packets simultaneously. You can choose from the following list:

  • iBeacon
  • 3 Eddystone packets (UID, URL, TLM)
  • Estimote Location
  • Estimote Telemetry

Estimote Proximity Beacons can broadcast one packet at a time. You can choose one of the following packets:

Each packet can be configured individually, meaning you can set different advertising interval, and broadcasting power for each and every one of them.

Note! When you connect to a beacon, it stops broadcasting Connectivity packet, all the other packets are still transmitted. Keep in mind that the more packets you use, the shorter battery life you get.

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